Front Cover
Smithsonian, Sep 17, 1995 - Art - 180 pages
African Masterworks in the Detroit Institute of Arts showcases eighty-eight of the museum's finest works, representing the full range of major sub-Saharan sculptural traditions during the past three centuries: figures, masks, containers, carved stools, jewelry, and musical instruments. As noted in the introductory material, almost all African art has a functional base - each sculpture's primary justification is its effectiveness as a ritual or utilitarian object. Text accompanying each photograph describes not only the circumstances, when known, of the object's creation, but also the harmonious interplay of its aesthetic features and cultural and spiritual function. The catalogue also details the rituals surrounding the religious objects and the social importance of the secular works. Organized by region, from the western Sudan to southern Africa, the book includes essays on the history of each area, as well as maps and an extensive bibliography. Michael Kan, the curator of the collection, provides a history of the museum's African art acquisitions since 1900, and the introduction by Roy Sieber traces the evolution of Western appreciation for African art, describing also the value placed on the objects by the community from which they arose.

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About the author (1995)

David W. Penney is Vice President of Museum Programs and Curator of Native American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. George Horse Capture is Assistant to the Director at the National Museum of the American Indian and former Curator of the Plains Indian Museum in Cody, Wyoming.

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